6 Things I’ve learned about fear in entrepreneurship

Why the heck do we stop doing things because we are scared? I deeply believe we are better off facing fear and acting on things that we have to or want to do, rather than live our lives regretting. I consider myself as a new entrepreneur because I have started this journey last May. Since then, I’ve had a few revelations that I need to share with others going through a similar path. I decided to start sharing this by writing them down here:

1. Fear of failing stops you from starting

When someone starts thinking about creating his or her own company, fear strikes almost immediately, even before one can start doing research. That is why many people stop at the idea stage. Too many questions arise: “What if this idea isn’t good?”, “What would my friends and family say if I fail?” “What if I fail”?… could be just a few of the many.

I spent 6 months juggling several ideas but never took action. That definitely got me nowhere. Through an executive coaching session facilitated by my best friend Carolina, I realized that what it was stopping me from starting something was fear. I realized that if I really wanted to become an entrepreneur and follow my dreams, I had to start. Here is my timeline as I decided to face my fears:

* December ‘14/January’15: went through the coaching process with Carolina.

* February/March/April: concentrated on finishing university and graduated.

* May/June: decided to start The Happy Startup School home school program through which I was able to reveal my passions and create the business idea. Created my Happy Startup Canvas during the course and then the first draft of my business plan (on an airplane ride with my husband).

* July/August: Worked on the business plan, social media, website, started forming a meetup group and started to organize meetups in order to start meeting parents entrepreneurs. Found business partner in August.

* September/October: worked with my business partner every week, touring co-working spaces, tuning the idea, searching for the space.

* November: we soft opened Collab&Play.

2. Overcoming fear increases creativity

Once you start working on your fears and overcoming them, your mind enters a state of creativity that you have not experienced before (this is obviously if you don’t think of yourself as a “creative”). Case in point: I fear of publishing any post as my writing is not good enough to publish (first, because my first language is not English, and secondly, I am not a writer); Therefore, more often than not, the fear of writing stops me from expressing my ideas or sharing my experiences with others. This frustrates me a great deal since I feel that a people out there could be benefited from reading my story and creating a business on their own. I am still working on overcoming this fear in particular. I find every possible reason to avoid writing. Often I blame it to the lack of time. Well, now here I am, overcoming this fear! Please forgive me that this post is far from perfect, but I feel the urge to share. Hopefully, if I keep writing enough, I will get better and will not offend all the amazing talented writers there are out there. One thing I know, every time I face this fear in particular, my ideas flow better and I end up wanting to write more.

3. When you stop being afraid, you learn more

This one is fairly simple. Even if my business fails, I have learned how to launch one, learned how to run, and how to market. I hope it doesn’t fail of course, as we have experienced a constant growth thus far. All that matters to me now is that succeeding or failing will guarantee a learning experience for me and possibly others.

4. Become comfortable with fear and you will make bold decisions

One friend from my previous job was a witness of my journey through this project and fell in love with the idea from day one. A few months after I opened my business, she approached me with her husband and asked me to associate with them and a few other entrepreneurs to bring this idea to Mexico. At another point in my life I would have sit on the decision for months. Instead, I thought: “This is a great opportunity to learn something new!” I will learn the ins and outs of opening a business abroad. I would also learn about expanding the brand. One of the aspects that drove me to make this bold decision was to think that my business model and concept could impact positively other women’s lives.

5. Stop being afraid of “My idea is not good enough” (talk about it and you will find your tribe)

Once I realized that I should stop being afraid of my idea not being good enough to make it a business, I started talking about it much more often. Soon I found, not only a business partner, but also several people that loved it and shared it with others. The business had followers even before it opened! Now,we not only have customers, we also have friends.

6. Don’t be afraid of doing something for the first time (you will meet inspiring people along the way that will want to help you)

Sometimes this also stops us from taking action towards something that matters. You don’t have to be an expert on everything. I believe that following your passion will make you more knowledgeable in what you love to do, and eventually you can become an expert. Not being one, motivates you to ask for help; therefore, it allows you to meet people that believe in what you do and will help you move your project forward.

Fear is part of who we are. We all feel fear, in all aspects of life. But, when it comes down to starting the path of entrepreneurship, you have to face it, deal with it and overcome it. When you accept fear is an intrinsic aspect of entrepreneurship, it becomes the norm, not the exception, allowing you to learn, create, network, grow and even achieve your dreams. I am certain that I will continue to encounter fear, except this time, I won’t let that stop me from moving forward. I will use fear as a catalyst to grow as a person and as an entrepreneur.

So here I am, 37 years old and wanting to live my life to the fullest. I want to love with lots of emotion (daily), impact the life of my family, my friends and I want to help other women that lack of resources to find their way to live a happier and more balanced life. Fear or no fear.

Want to know what I have achieved so far by facing fear?

Five months after finishing the six week home school program with The Happy Startup School I opened my very first business. Alongside my business partner, we created Collab&play: a collaborative co-working space that enables parents to balance family & work (topic that I am absolutely passionate about). It is the first co-working space with on-site childcare to open in Los Angeles. We are working towards building a community of creatives, freelancers, entrepreneurs that have children and can bring them along to get work done while their children play (all happening under the same roof!). This helps parents to focus on their work for a few hours with no distractions (no dishes to be washed, no laundry, no dog barking in the middle of a call, no chasing around crawling babies or toddlers). During these few hours, parents are happy knowing that their children are right to them, having fun and learning through play while they work.

Here is the manifesto that we run our business by ( it is written on our creative wall)

Follow us @Collab&Play

Like what you read? Give Sil Toledo a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.